Rumors of thousands of United Nations vehicles being outfitted behind a remote federal prison in Texas have been spread across talk radio and Internet web sites — all heavy on conjecture and short on facts.
The truth was easily verified by WorldNetDaily, and the results show how easily a wild story can use a small portion of truth to sound genuine. Americans who have long ago stopped trusting their government, and talk show hosts who like wild stories, were quick to accept this story without verifying the facts.
The tale of a U.N. force being prepared as an international police force apparently began with a genuine effort by amateur investigators to expose what they thought was a subversive plot.
The operator of a Texas-based Internet hosting service began publishing news stories on his website. That service then expanded to conducting local investigations into local Texas rumors.
David Palmquist, operator of AllTexas.net, agrees that he is untrained as a journalist, but he is trying to fill a gap that he says the local news media has left unfilled. He published a story that told of 1,000 white vehicles being stockpiled at a high-security prison in Bastrop, Texas.
“All the vehicles are U.N. white,” said Palmquist in his article.
“Rumors have been floating in the area for months about a fleet of suspicious vehicles being outfitted with prisoner cages, shackles and insignia such as ‘U.S. Police Force’ and the U.N. roundel. None of the vehicles observed in the storage area appeared to have any markings at all other than window stickers with equipment data,” he stated in the article.
Palmquist said an unnamed prison official told him that the vehicles were being outfitted with prisoner cages and shackles, and that the vehicles were for the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
He disputed those claims in his article stating that, “vehicles assigned to the INS are predominantly painted green and those assigned to the Border Patrol are usually the same. The suitability of a high-visibility color such as white for either agency is in question. Large, white vehicles can be seen approaching from miles away.”
WorldNetDaily received many concerned requests from readers to look into the story. Palmquist claimed he was a frequent guest on talk shows from coast to coast as a result of his article. He admitted to going onto the prison property without proper clearance to take pictures from the ground, and he also flew over in a plane to take aerial photographs.
The pictures did show hundreds of white vehicles neatly parked on the prison property.
One call to the federal prison at Bastrop brought many answers, and a second call to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service in Washington, D.C. found the remaining answers.
“That story could be nothing further from the truth,” said Tim Stewart, executive assistant at the Bastrop prison, which he said is a minimum security facility, not a maximum security prison as claimed in the article.
“What we’re doing here is our Unicore factory, our federal prison industries has undergone a mission change. We previously made ballistic helmets and vests for the military. We are no longer doing that. Our mission change now is that we are taking brand new vehicles that have been sold to the INS and we’re retrofitting those vehicles so they can put them on the line. Basically just fixing them up for their use. Putting in radios, radio harnesses, and things of that nature. Stripping them and decaling them for the INS,” explained Stewart.
He said there are between 900 and 1,000 white Dodge vans, Tahoe, Suburbans and Durangos lined up and waiting to be prepared for service. Inmates are presently preparing the factory for the new work, so the vehicles have been accumulating during the delay.
None of the vehicles are for use by the U.N. and none of them presently have any marking on them. Soon they will all receive an INS seal and some lines. White is a common color used by INS, and they will be shipped to locations in every state of the nation when they are finished.
“The only other federal prison industry that we have here is a broom factory. We make brooms for sale to GSA (General Services Administration). It’s kind of a two-part factory. We’ve had that for years,” explained Stewart.
It was late in the day when WorldNetDaily reached INS by phone in Washington, D.C. The officials were gone for the day but another INS spokesman was willing to explain what was happening in Bastrop even though he stressed he was not an official spokesman.
“They were going to close the prison and put a whole lot of people out of a job. Rather than close the prison, the DOJ (Department of Justice) came to INS and said, ‘What do you do in your field to promote the economy?’
“You know INS. We have law enforcement vehicles all over the country. We have police cars, or patrol cars, and we have patrol 4x4s and they’re all over the country. This whole initiative in Bastrop has kept the prison open, but we just overwhelmed them because we buy so many vehicles,” he explained.
Shortly after the conversation with the INS spokesman, Russ Bergeron, the official spokesman for INS left a voice mail message to confirm the information but said he would be out of the office for the remainder of the week.
WorldNetDaily receives many tips on various news stories every day. Many rumors are quickly dispelled with a phone call or two, however other tips often lead to very important discoveries that are not reported in the mainstream media.